Thursday, May 31, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Ballston, Oregon: Serious Watermelon Eating

This is a postcard send to my great-grandmother in July of 1916 from Ballston, Oregon.  Apparently there was quite a watermelon feast going on!  Some of the faces in this crowd are priceless, particularly the little imps under the watermelon table. I'm also not sure whether the chicken was invited to pose or not . . . .
The back of the postcard reads:

Hello Alta - 
How are you and what are doing to fill the time?  I finally located a print of the  picture I promised to send you and here it is.  Not a very good one but it will give you an idea of the crew and what we had for a treat.  Was over as far as Grandpa's today but couldn't get as far as your place as I would have liked to have done.  Oh!  Pardon me I forgot about that ring I happened to see.  Wishing you good luck and best wishes, I am yours, L. F.
My great-grandmother was newly engaged at the time (explaining the ring reference), but I'm not sure who the writer of the postcard is.  Alta had labeled one person as 'Alta'  (the left person in this picture) though that person isn't the right age to be herself, and another as 'Viola' (the right person in this picture).  I will let you know if I find additional information about this time period and what was clearly quite the picnic.

Ballston was founded in 1878 as a train stop and grain elevator point.   In 1915, a year before this postcard picture was taken, it had 104 residents.  But by the 1950s the railroad had moved on and the town was basically abandoned.  Today it is considered a ghost-town, most well-known for its school building, built in 1855 and thought to be the oldest surviving school in Oregon.  This picture is from 1964, before it was restored and moved to a park.  Today, there is a Ballston community organization which apparently still puts together some rousing  dinners, though watermelon isn't mentioned . . .
(Those Places Thursday is a Geneabloggers event)


  1. I love this picture. It really provides a snapshot of the time.

    1. Hi Kathy, are you in Ballston? I just moved there. I'm digging up history info on the area.

  2. I just recently moved to Ballston and have become very interested in the history of the area. We live very close to the school house! The brook that runs through the park where it is also runs through our yard! Would you be willing to sell the post card? or even donate it to the museum?
    Also, do you have any others?

  3. The postcards are between my great-grandparents, I think my mom would probably kill me if I sold them. I haven't found any others yet. I still have to make it to Ballston!